2019-2020 Calistoga Visitor Guide

40 HISTORY HISTORY Go back in time with us. CALISTOGA WAS ONCE HOME TO a significant population of indigenous people, the Wappo. In the Spanish colonial era of the late 1700s, Napa Valley was controlled by the Mission San Francisco de Solano, located in what is now Sonoma. After Mexican Independence, mission properties were parceled into ranchos in the 1830s, with the first American settlers arriving in this area a decade later. Town founder Samuel Brannan was the leader of a settlement expedition that landed in San Francisco in 1846. Following the 1849 Gold Rush, he became California’s first millionaire and publisher of the city’s first English newspaper, The California Star . Ever fascinated by Calistoga’s natural hot springs, Brannan purchased 2,000 acres to develop a spa reminiscent of Saratoga in New York. Legend has it that the town’s name hailed from his tipsy malapropism that he would make it the“Calistoga of Sarafornia”— and the name stuck. BRANNAN’S RESORT, located where the Indian Springs Resort stands today, opened to the rich and famous in 1862. The 1868 completion of the railroad made Calistoga a major destination and transportation hub for the upper valley. CALISTOGA’S SHARPSTEEN MUSEUM, an award-winning museum, was built by Ben Sharpsteen, Oscar-winning American animator, director and producer for Disney. The museum has been featured on the Travel Channel and is a must-see destination to learn more about the rich history of Calistoga and the upper Napa Valley. Be sure to stop in to check out one of 11 Oscars awarded to Ben Sharpsteen, as well as the extensive diorama known world-wide, which offers a glimpse of 1860s Calistoga. Open daily, call 707-942-5911 or visit sharpsteenmuseum.org.